In the financial district of Sydney’s downtown core, in the sunny streets of Australia, Molecule Studio has recently completed a significant office transformation for prestigious wealth management company Escala Partners.
Besides just physically expanding the square footage of the available office space for those working there, this brand new office project marks an interstate expansion for the company’s overall growth, making it a bit of a tribute as well as a workspace. This office is a sibling space to the primary head office in Melbourne, which was also completed by Molecule Studio in 2013.
This new office is, in a number of ways, influenced by the design and aesthetic present in the previous office, but designers still wanted to give the space in Sydney its own distinct character. They used this updated project as a chance to re-investigate and refine some of their basic design ideas, customizing them to a brand new context.
The goal here was balance between related spaces; the company wanted to see that the new office space had some design and function aspects that were all its own, but without deviating entirely from what they know already works for the same team in another city.
In the new Sydney office, most spacial plans centre around the already grand entrance and the stunning harbour views provided naturally by the location. Why not take advantage of what’s already there and doesn’t need changing to be beautiful? Now, clients enter into a wide and impressive reception area with its own lounge. This greeting space is quite flexible and is therefore also often used for informal client meetings during the day and sometimes even functions in the evening.
The reception area is not, of course, the only space where meetings might take place. There is also a large and fully tech equipped boardroom for office wide meetings and conference calls as well as several smaller meeting rooms for quicker proceedings with less people. These are all positioned adjacently to the building’s facade, giving peeking views of the harbour and skyscraper laden landscape below, a pleasant thing to gaze upon during long meetings.
Joining the reception area to these other spaces, as well as collaborative and individualized work spaces, is a nine metre long hallway-like space that displays stunning materiality. The floor and walls are clad in a smooth, light timber veneer while marble gives the place a sense of sophistication. This stretch also serves as a bit of a divider between the reception and the primary workspaces.
At the end of the office, you’ll find a set of pivoting panels that let employees control whether certain parts of the office can be viewed or given more privacy. Behind these panels sit the full equipped staff kitchen and a case. Each of these boasts lovely timber floorboards and veneering, continuing the front area’s rich and slightly formal looking colour palette.
Although overall colour schemes in the office are quite neutral, there’s still a sense of luxury all throughout the space. This is in the fine copper and metallic finishes, the teal green upholstery, some dark stained timber veneer contrasting with the light, and even some smooth, caramel coloured leather. In some spaces, you’ll also find sandstone inspired marble, which is a direct called to the Melbourne office, where it is paired with navy blue, tan, and rosewood colour schemes.
The finished product is a pair of spaces in different city borders that share a sense of principle and philosophy but each bear that own distinct atmosphere even so.
Photos by Prue Ruscoe